From my entire childhood up to my early twenties, I’ve never really paid specific attention to my weight: let alone what I eat. Obviously, I have been taught that exercise is good for me but that alone did not feel compelling enough to do physical activities regularly as the thought always feels tiring and painful. Additionally, I was not really into sports (hated it, in fact, haha) as I felt insecure about my short height nor did I believe I could do sporty things. As such, my main hobby was sedentary: playing computer games.

In the Philippines, it was normal to eat 1-2 cups of cooked rice in every meal (3 times a day) plus a serving of meat/viands or vegetables. And on some days when my family budget was tight, we replaced meat with instant noodles. So, cooked rice + instant noodles.. (carbs plus carbs)… uhh… do you see the dietary problem there?

This worsened when I moved to Singapore.

As I kept my Filipino diet and had access to more than one dish per meal, I gained weight so quickly. I also frequented fast-food restaurants such as KFC and did so many late-night night club parties where I and my friends ended up eating at fast-food chains before going home and hitting the bed.

Felt like dying every time I climbed on a slope.

One day, some unexpected life events happened simultaneously in a single day: I lost my job, I lost my home, and got heartbroken. This left me reeling from depression and I was forced to disconnect from all party friends to come into perspective of what just happened to my life.

As I felt lost, I thought I needed to develop a good “grip on myself” and find proof that I could control my own life at its lowest stage. I told myself that if I can make myself healthier and lose weight, it would mean I have the chance in succeeding in life — because then, I will have exercised excellent self-discipline and self-control, and can then turn focus on chasing my dreams and making them happen.

So I turned to fitness.

I developed a self-imposed fitness program called “Heightened Active Lifestyle” which is primarily designed to be sustainable.

Heightened Active Lifestyle

In this program, I obliged myself to invest a huge amount of my time in improving my health and monitoring the progress of my fitness efforts publicly. I shared my progress and updates on Facebook on purpose to encourage accountability, and to allow other people, especially those who have better fitness, to comment and gain feedback to help shape the direction of the project.

Here are the things I have done that helped me lose weight and keep a healthy one:


  • Increased high-level plant-based diet and fibre-rich fruits
  • Minimal to zero carbohydrate intake from rice, bread, or pasta under normal circumstances
    • If I feel like eating carbs on some days, I made sure the flour used has plenty of dietary fibre
  • Near total sugar and sodium ban from all processed foods and drinks
  • Increased protein intake
  • A cup of black coffee without sugar 15-30 minutes prior to a cardio training

Physical Activities:

  • Go outdoors often, travel, or do backpacking
  • Increased physical activity and compulsory daily exercise
  • Banned the use of escalators, instead take the stairs each time
  • Regular running regimen and participating in competitive running events to make physical exercise sustainable and fun
  • Participate in hiking and mountain climbs
  • 2-3x weight training per week to keep muscles and develop muscle tone/definition
  • 2-3x high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions per week
  • Do a short walk after lunch to mitigate the increase in blood sugar
  • On rest days, do walks in a park (active recovery)


  • No drugs
  • No alcohol consumption
  • No smoking
  • Cold showers
  • Ensure quality sleep and recovery
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people who are a good influence on your fitness and sports.
  • Surround yourself with people who perform or look better to draw inspiration from.
  • Cut toxic relationships.
  • Set short and long–term goals: commit to them, take action, and deliver.
  • Dream big and don’t sell yourself short.


  • Keep a characteristically immoderate positive, motivated mindset
  • Listen to positive, awe-inspiring epic music
  • Believe that there is only one life to live, and there is no best time to be and to do your best than now.
  • Believe that the best way of dying is to spend your time doing what you love and being with your loved ones.
  • Be kind to yourself and others.
  • Regret nothing.

After a couple of months of doing the above, I developed myself to become an athlete: I became a long-distance marathon runner– something I never imagined myself to be!

It’s never too late.

I completed 9 marathons and climbed many mountains. Losing excess weight allowed me to run longer, faster, and more comfortably.

I felt so much better each day: my mood was often positive, I was more energetic, and I felt lighter and accomplished. The depression I once had was obliterated.

I never thought this day would come.

My colleagues at work also suddenly became nicer (i.e. I think there is a positive psychological effect when succeeding in losing weight to others). My work performance improved as I gained discipline from doing sports and a new, firm ability to focus on the work at hand, and make my professional goals happen.

I can’t overstate how I recommend keeping a healthy weight to anyone who wants to do more in his/her life.

Today, I see keeping a healthy weight as key to all my life adventures: from my day trips to my participation in sports, to having better sex/love life., and doing more in life.

Keeping a healthy weight lets me do more in life, and that equates to happiness and sustainable positivity.

An important note and disclaimer: the regimen above worked for me — first in Singapore, and now again in France. However, since we all have different bodies, please make sure to consult your doctor before following any of the methods above.

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